China, the US, India and the Republic of Korea are among the 46 countries to sign up to the Singapore Convention on Mediation, a treaty to enable the cross-border enforcement of mediated settlement agreements.

Ministers and senior officials representing 70 countries attended a signing ceremony and conference in Singapore this week to give their support to the international treaty. The tally of 46 signatures is at the high end of expectations, though the convention will not come into force until three states have ratified it. 

The EU's position is at the moment uncertain as the European Commission has yet to decide whether it has competence or would require individual states to sign. The United Kingdom is yet to sign the treaty. 

Singapore’s minister for home affairs and law K. Shanmugam said: ‘This is a significant week for Singapore. We have the signing of the Singapore Convention by 46 countries, showing immediate commitment to a rules based order in international trade.

‘The EU and its member states also actively participated in the drafting of the convention in the UN.’

The convention does not specify a particular format or approach to mediation. Natalie Morris-Sharma, director (international legal) at the Singapore Ministry of Law, said. ‘So long as you have something signed and in writing you can rely on courts in participating jurisdictions to apply an expedited procedure for enforcement’.

To mark the occasion, an orchid was named ‘Aranda Singapore Convention on Mediation’.